Vol. 19, #28 - July 14, 2014 - Issue #988

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Windows 8.1 Migration Planning

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Ask our Readers - Answers
    • Ask our Readers - New Question
    • Windows 8.1 Migration Planning
    • Tip of the Week: Using the PowerShell Pipeline
    • Recommended for Learning
    • Microsoft Virtual Academy
    • Quote of the Week
  2. Admin Toolbox
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. Events Calendar
    • Americas
    • Europe
    • Asia Pacific
  4. Webcast Calendar
    • MSExchange.org Exchange CON 2014 - September 18
    • Register for Webcasts
  5. Tech Briefing
    • Windows 8.1 Deployment
    • Windows Client
    • Windows PowerShell
    • Windows Server
    • System Center
  6. Windows Server News
    • Small fish solve big issues in growing cloud pond
    • Five ways to fix a broken VDI implementation
    • Better configuration management with new DSC resources
    • Test restores, make backups, sleep well
  7. WServerNews FAVE Links
    • Budapest Airshow 2014 Highlights
    • Cool Amphibious Motorhome
    • Speed Skater Vs Jaguar XK on Ice
    • Cat: Your Husband is Calling
  8. WServerNews - Product of the Week
    • Real-Time Monitoring for Exchange Health from SolarWinds®

 

Real-Time Monitoring for Exchange Health from SolarWinds®

Email and calendaring services that Microsoft® Exchange Server provides are critical when it comes to your business. With SolarWinds Free Exchange Monitor, you can easily keep a vigilant eye on Exchange health for free. This tool delivers continuous monitoring to deliver real-time insight into Exchange services, mail queue sizes, and host server health. Quickly identify and troubleshoot Exchange server problems, preventing email delays and calendaring issues. Spot growing mail queues that can indicate bigger issues, like transport failures, Internet connection failures, and virus activity. Leverage out-of-the-box settings based on best practices to start monitoring Exchange immediately.

Download the Free Download the Free Exchange Monitor Tool Today.

 

Editor's Corner

This week's newsletter is all about planning considerations for Windows 8.1 migration. It's important to carefully plan your migration to ensure everything goes smoothly. Of course migrations can sometimes be taken to an extreme as the following Dilbert comic strip illustrates:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069665437

And by the way, if you're not yet ready to migrate to Windows 8.1 then be sure to SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER as you may find it useful when the time finally comes!

Ask our Readers - Answers

In Issue #986 Finding Tech Support Online we included the following questions from a reader named Ginadi who is on the IT staff of a large company:

Do you see any potential risk or other problems related to the changing computer name (I don't know - SUS, Certificates,...)? And are you agree that PC name on the base of User account name might have potential security risk?

We received several responses to these questions from our readers. First, a reader named Chris who works for a computer support company in Kansas, USA, shared these thoughts:

Technically, there is no problem renaming the computer to whatever you want. Assuming the machine is part of the domain, then renaming it will change the Active Directory computer object as well and all is good.

As for calling the computer name something related to the user's ID, that has long been a subject of change in our own organization… what is the best naming convention for domain machines. There would be occasions where it might become a problem when talking about security. If a user took a laptop to a public wi-fi place and the machine showed up on the network. Then people would see the name and know the user ID to try and hack the machine. Having to figure out only the password of a username/password combo is certainly easier than figuring out both. But if security is done right and the password meets today's standards of security then it still should be quite difficult to crack.

Username and email address the same format? Could get put on spam lists. Outside of that, shouldn't be an issue.

Another reader named Vern said:

The policy that I have always followed is to name the computer with the Dell serial number, however that only works with Dell computers. With other computers I have sometimes used the last 4 digits of whatever the manufacturer uses for a serial number. With the Dell computers that always makes sure that your techs are working on the right computer as often the users know nothing about the computer where they are having a problem. This also allows you to track hardware problems as computers get moved around from person to person & office to office to meet business needs.

Rather than change the computer name, a better way is to change the computer description. In Windows 7 that can be found in Computer/Properties/System/Change Settings. You can enter a computer description and it changes the broadcast information without having to reboot that computer. Very slick.

Now the bad news. When Microsoft created Windows 7 they in their wisdom decided that the computer description (normally the Comment field) would not be visible in an ordinary view. The workaround is to create a folder named

Network.{208d2c60-3aea-1069-a2d7-08002b30309d}

on the desktop or wherever you choose to put it. Now the computer description is available as is the Comment field. Don't ask me how it works. I did not come up with this fix, just found it in a forum.

Howard from Brazil gave our reader this advice:

Not good. A machine goes down, a tech brings a replacement? Just lots of extra work! Better to name the machines after the department or room areas and add a number, 1-10 or something. Do you use asset codes? An admin needs to keep track of a machine's history, not a user that can migrate from machine to machine and just login! Besides, what if the user leaves/fired? Will there be a record of Bobby/Mike/Charles/whatever got a new motherboard in 2013? If you need to keep a map of where every machine is and the person using it, create a document and post it on the wall.

I also found a thread on the SpiceWorks community forum that discussed possible problems that can arise when renaming domain-joined computers:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069727750

Finally, I asked a few colleagues who work at Microsoft if they knew of any considerations involving renaming domain-joined computers. One colleague said that when renaming member servers you can either use the GUI or the command-line netdom.exe utility. But if you use the command-line approach then you should do it like this to ensure smooth transition from the old name to the new one:

Netdom computername newname /Add

Netdom computername newname /MakePrimary

Netdom computername oldname /remove

I was also told that if the server had a certificate then it would need a new one after renaming the server.

Here are some more examples of how to use netdom.exe:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069747516

And here's an interesting article about when and why you might want to give a server multiple names:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069752469

Golly, you learn something new every day.

Ask our Readers - New Question

Now here's a new question from a reader named Antonio who is a sysadmin in Sydney, Australia:

A lot of articles are suggesting to use unique passwords for each site or account, especially for sensitive activities such as online banking. And lots of authors suggest the use of a password manager which I agree that it is a good idea. However I wonder if you know of any good portable password manager. I would prefer to be able to login to sites on more than just 1 computer. I know there are some portable tools available such as Password Safe etc. What would you recommend?

If you'd like to offer any suggestions to this reader, email us at [email protected]

Windows 8.1 Migration Planning

What kind of steps should you take before you begin rolling out Windows 8.1 in your environment? Clearly you need to begin with an assessment of your existing environment. Let's take this step by step:

Hardware

Can you current client system hardware support Windows 8.1? The specific hardware requirements for the new platform vary depending on which features you want to use. For more info see here:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069777954

For example, if you want to use the Secure Boot capability of Windows 8.1, you'll need system firwware that supports the UEFI standard:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069782579

Here's a video that demonstrates the Secure Boot feature:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069786376

The key then is to examine the Windows 8.1 system requirements, decide which features you want to use in your environment, and then decide if you can upgrade existing client systems or whether you'll need to procure new PCs.

Licensing

Licensing is a complicated matter and since there are legal issues involved we can't provide specific recommendations concerning licensing in this newsletter. The key think is that you visit the Microsoft Volume Licensing portal for Windows 8.1 and carefully examine the licensing information found there:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069791016

One thing we can point out from experience is that your KMS or MAK keys used to activate Windows will need to be upgraded to support Windows 8.1. A helpful walkthrough that shows how to do this can be found in the following post on Didier Van Hoye's blog Working Hard In IT:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069794891

BitLocker

If you are currently using BitLocker Drive Encryption to protect client computers running Windows 7 and are managing BitLocker on these systems using version 2.0 of the Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM), you'll need to upgrade to MBAM 2.5 which is part of the 2014 release of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). You can find MDOP on your volume licensing portal. Here's a quick summary by Ben Hunter of the improvements in MBAM 2.5 from the Windows Springboard Series Blog:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069799048

For information on how to upgrade to MBAM 2.5, see the Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring landing page here:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069803126

Deployment

The bottom line here is that if you're going to deploy Windows 8.1 in your environment then you'll need to upgrade your existing deployment tools. Smaller environments that use the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) for deploying Windows will need to upgrade to MDT 2013 which can be downloaded here:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069807110

Larges environments that have System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or System Center 2012 Configuration manager deployed will need to upgrade their systems management infrastructure to System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager in order to deploy Windows 8.1 Enterprise.

Walkthroughs and videos of using both MDT and Configuration Manager for deploying Windows 8.1 can be found on the Deploy Windows 8.1 landing page here:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069810657

Additional helpful resources on Windows 8.1 deployment can be found in the Tech Briefing section of this newsletter.

Send us feedback

Have you already deployed Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 in your environment? Share your story with us at [email protected]

Tip of the Week: Using the PowerShell Pipeline

This week's tip is by Ashley McGlone, a Premier Field Engineer at Microsoft.

Are you aware that PowerShell has been publicly available and in use now for about seven years? Doesn't sound so "new" any more does it? If you are still waiting to learn PowerShell, then you should start immediately. This is a key skillset for every IT Pro to know. It will be a career-differentiator for you.

As you learn PowerShell you will find that the "pipeline" is one of its most powerful features. You can stitch multiple commands into a one-line masterpiece (that could take 50+ lines of VBScript). Pipelines use the vertical bar character ( | ) to send the output from the command on the left as the input for the command on the right. You can pipe as many cmdlets as you like back-to-back. Here is an example:

PS C:\> Get-GPO -All | Where-Object {$_.ModificationTime -gt (Get-Date).AddDays(-30)} | Backup-GPO -Path C:\GPOBackups

Let's break it down:

  1. Get a list of all GPOs [PIPE]
  2. Filter for the ones that have been modified in the last 30 days [PIPE]
  3. Backup the filtered GPOs in the list

The important thing to remember here is to structure the commands in the correct order. For this I recommend the old-school computer science 101 adage: Input | Process | Output. Begin with your input. Pipe to one or more processing cmdlets. Then send your output to a file, the screen, etc. NEVER EVER put a Format-* cmdlet in the middle of the pipeline. That is like crossing the streams. It will trash the entire line. PowerShell people use the motto "Filter left, format right."

Here are some cmdlet examples by these three categories:

Keep this concept in mind as you build your PowerShell one-liners: Input | Process | Output. It will make life easier, and you will be a PowerShell Pipeline rock star in no time. Enjoy!

For more assistance on this topic, open up the PowerShell console and type: "Help about_Pipelines"

For two days of free PowerShell training, check out the videos titled "Getting Started with PowerShell 3.0 Jump Start" and "Advanced Tools & Scripting with PowerShell 3.0 Jump Start" on Microsoft Virtual Academy here:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069858517

About Ashley McGlone

Find more of Ashley's PowerShell tips on his TechNet blog here:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069862220

Follow Ashley on Twitter here:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069866314

GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]

Recommended for Learning

Want to learn Windows PowerShell? Here are some recent books that can help:

Windows PowerShell Programming for the Absolute Beginner, 3rd
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069870970

Beginning PowerShell for SharePoint 2013
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069874689

Windows PowerShell Best Practices
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069881298

Pro PowerShell for Amazon Web Services: DevOps for the AWS Cloud
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069884876

Instant Windows PowerShell Guide
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069889033

PowerShell Deep Dives
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069892689

Ninja PowerShell Secrets: Volume One - Centralized Input Validation in Cmdlet Code
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069896361

Microsoft Virtual Academy

An announcement from the Microsoft Virtual Academy:

July 24, 2014 - Migrating Legacy Windows Server to 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure

Out with the old! IT Pros, you're probably aware that July 2014 marks the one-year countdown to end of support for Windows Server 2003. If you're gearing up to migrate from Windows Server 2003/2008 to Windows Server 2012 R2 (on-premises and in Microsoft Azure), this Jump Start has a ton of helpful information for you.

 Windows Server 2012 R2 provides many options to help ensure seamless transition to the new server platform. This course explores these tools and shows you how Windows Server 2012 R2 can ease your transition, not merely to upgrade earlier versions but also to migrate your key services efficiently, safely, and cost effectively. In these demo-rich sessions, industry experts also examine how to migrate your on-premises workloads to Microsoft Azure virtual machines (VMs) to create a truly hybrid cloud environment. Register today!
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069901064

Quote of the Week

"It may seem paradoxical to talk of the fear of success. But it is in fact an enormous obstacle, because success implies change, and change is frightening." --Michael Korda

Until next week,
Mitch Tulloch

Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don’t receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at [email protected] and we’ll try to troubleshoot things from our end.

 

Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

SolarWinds Free Exchange Monitor delivers insight into Exchange services, mail queue sizes, & server health. Easily keep a vigilant eye on Exchange health so this mission-critical app never fails.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405332162560

Free Stencils for Microsoft Visio - Collection of VMware and Hyper-V virtualization Visio stencils to be used by ESX administrators, system integrators and datacenter managers to create their own diagrams.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405332441122

The TRENDnet Powerline 500 AV Nano Adapter Kit model TPL-406E2K uses any electrical outlet to create a secure high speed network:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405332171810

BitTorrent Sync never stores your files on servers, so they stay safe from data breaches and prying eyes:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405332176591

Keep your server room secure with the Yale Security YRD220-ZW-619 Real Living Electronic Touch Screen Deadbolt:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405332179263

 

Events Calendar

Americas

Microsoft SQL Server PASS Summit 2014 on November 4-7, 2014 in Seattle, Washington
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069908205

Europe

TechEd Europe on October 27-31, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069910267

Asia Pacific

TechEd New Zealand on September 9-12, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405069912189

Add your event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 95,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]

 

Webcast Calendar

MSExchange.org Exchange CON 2014 - September 18

Registration is open for MS Exchange CON 2014, an information-packed annual event designed for busy IT Professionals within the global MS Exchange Community. This online event is hosted by MSExchange.org and begins at 10am EDT | 7am PDT | 3pm BST on Thursday, September 18, 2014.  Participation is limited to 1,000 attendees, so register today!

Register Here

This online annual live conference is a cost-effective and convenient opportunity to learn from many leading experts and vendors who serve the Exchange Community. Examples of focus session topics include:

Sign Up Now!

Register for Webcasts

Add your Webcast

PLANNING A WEBCAST you'd like to tell our subscribers about? Contact [email protected]

 

Tech Briefing

Windows 8.1 deployment

We'll begin with some links to blog posts on various aspects of deploying and migrating your desktop computing infrastructure to Windows 8.1...

Windows 8.1 (with Update 1) Deployment using MDT 2013 and WDS (Akfash's Weblog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070074190

http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070077784

http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070079878

Imaging Windows 8.1 tablets using a USB drive and WinPE (Fischer's Tech Blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070082800

Windows 8.1 Deployment and Windows to Go! (Denton's Blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070086987

How can I deploy Windows 8.1 using System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager (just another windows noob)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070091128

Deploy Windows 8.1 with ConfigMgr 2012 R2 (Nickolaj Andersen)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070095253

SCCM 2012 R2 – Windows 8.1 To Go deployment (SCCMFAQ.CH)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070099284

Now let's move on to some other tech briefings...

 

Windows client

Work Folders for Windows 7 (The Storage Team at Microsoft - File Cabinet Blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070103753

Is Windows 8.1 finally ready for corporate prime time? (Part 1) (WindowsNetworking.com)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070107690

 

Windows PowerShell

Add a domain user or group to local administrators with PowerShell (4sysops)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070111581

Want to Automatically Configure Your Machines Using DSC at Initial Boot-up? (Windows PowerShell Blog)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070115440

 

Windows Server

Failover Clustering and Active Directory Integration (Ask the Core Team)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070119753

How to Configure MSDTC to Use a Specific Port in Windows Server 2012/2012R2 (Ask the Core Team)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070123456

 

System Center

SCOM 2012 – SNMP Traps, How The Heck Do I Get It Working? (stefanroth.net)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070127034

SCOM 2012 – MAS Tool V 1.0 (stefanroth.net)
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070130472


Windows Server News

Small fish solve big issues in growing cloud pond

Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft might be the "big fish" in the cloud pond, but not far behind them are lesser-known, vertical market specialists starting to make big waves with products aimed specifically at the needs of individual companies. Continue reading to find out more about the growing amount of small, niche cloud vendors finding their place amongst the big providers.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070134987

Five ways to fix a broken VDI implementation

VDI implementations break easily and often, and it is not always immediately clear whether they are actually broken or not. To better assess your VDI, access this list of questions you should ask yourself about the health of your virtual desktop structure and uncover five ways to fix your VDI implementation.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070147800

Better configuration management with new DSC resources

While Desired State Configuration (DSC) is a powerful tool, it doesn't include many built-in resources. Fortunately, new resources from Microsoft are beginning to arrive – learn how to get started with DSC and find out how to utilize these new resources.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070153300

Test restores, make backups, sleep well

While virtualization simplifies many IT tasks, it is still important to have a solid VMware backup and restore plan to ensure you are prepared for unplanned outages in the data center. Read more on the tools and technologies available for implementing a strong VMware restore and backup plan so you can sleep a little more soundly tonight.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070166925

 

WServerNews FAVE Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

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Budapest Airshow 2014 Highlights

Highlights from the Budapest Airshow 2014 featuring planes flying through the beautiful city and taking off from and flying under the bridges of the Danube river:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070171206

Cool Amphibious Motorhome

The Terra Wind is a first class motor coach that is as comfortable on the lake as it is on land:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070174566

Speed Skater Vs Jaguar XK on Ice

Norwegian speed skating champion Eskil Ervik vs Jermeny Clarkson in a Jaguar XK compete in a 1500 meter race. Who will cross the finish line first?
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070178081

Cat: Your Husband is Calling

You can always count on this Russian cat to bring your phone when it is ringing!
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1405070182472

 

WServerNews - Product of the Week

Real-Time Monitoring for Exchange Health from SolarWinds®

Email and calendaring services that Microsoft® Exchange Server provides are critical when it comes to your business. With SolarWinds Free Exchange Monitor, you can easily keep a vigilant eye on Exchange health for free. This tool delivers continuous monitoring to deliver real-time insight into Exchange services, mail queue sizes, and host server health. Quickly identify and troubleshoot Exchange server problems, preventing email delays and calendaring issues. Spot growing mail queues that can indicate bigger issues, like transport failures, Internet connection failures, and virus activity. Leverage out-of-the-box settings based on best practices to start monitoring Exchange immediately.

Download the Free Download the Free Exchange Monitor Tool Today.

 

WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press and has published hundreds of articles for IT pros. Mitch is also a seven-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also Head of Research for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.